John Niven (footballer)

John Niven (15 May 1921 – 4 April 2011) was a Scottish footballer, who played as a goalkeeper for Renfrew, Hibernian, Dundee, East Fife and Kilmarnock.[1]

John Niven
Personal information
Date of birth 15 May 1921
Place of birth Coatbridge, Scotland
Date of death 4 April 2011(2011-04-04) (aged 89)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1942–1951 East Fife 101 (0)
1951–1953 Kilmarnock 60 (0)
Total 161 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Niven first signed for East Fife in 1942, after being spotted by East Fife manager John McArthur.[1] He made his first senior appearance for Hibernian, during a temporary loan in March 1942.[1] Niven was also loaned to Dundee before he broke into the East Fife first team.[1] He was their regular first choice goalkeeper during their period of success after the Second World War.[1] Niven only conceded one goal in 210 minutes of football in the 1947 Scottish League Cup Final win against Falkirk.[1] Former Scotland goalkeeper Jack Harkness praised Niven afterwards in his match report for the Sunday Post.[1]

East Fife won the B Division championship in 1948.[1] Niven appeared to be on course for further success in the 1949–50 season, but he was injured before the League Cup semi-final.[1] East Fife won both the semi-final against Rangers and the final against Dunfermline without him.[1] East Fife then reached the 1950 Scottish Cup Final, but Niven was injured in a league match five days earlier.[1] The second choice goalkeeper was also injured.[2] This meant that 21-year-old Gordon Easson had to make his first team debut for East Fife in the Cup Final.[1][3] Easson conceded a goal within 30 seconds and East Fife went on to lose 3–0.[1][3]

Niven was transferred to Kilmarnock in 1951.[1] He played in the 1952 Scottish League Cup Final, which Kilmarnock lost 2–0 to Dundee.[1] Niven retired from senior football in 1953 and became a mechanical engineer, working for Sir William Arrol & Co.[1] He then set up a motor factor business, which he operated until his retirement in 1988.[1] Niven suffered from Parkinson's disease in later life.[1] He died in April 2011, and was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.[1]